The title of this post translates to, "Let us pray for France." #IamCharlie
When my friend Laura saw me post #jesuischarlie on Facebook, she asked, "Huh?" She had thought I was saying, "Jesus is Charlie."
Unfortunately, that hashtag has nothing to do with Jesus or any famous Charlies (such as Charlie Brown or Charlie, the perfume.)
Charlie, in this case, is Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine based in Paris, France. No person or group is safe from being ridiculed by Charlie Hebdo--everyone is an open target.
In 2011, the staff of Charlie Hebdo published an issue renamed "Charia Hebdo"--a reference to Sharia Law--guest edited by the prophet Muhammed A caricature of the prophet Muhammed appeared on the front cover saying, 100 lashes of the whip if you don't die laughing.
Certain Muslims were not amused.
On November 2, 2011, the offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed, and its website was hacked. Charb--Stephane Charbonnier, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo--stated, that the attack might have been by "stupid people who don't know what Islam is" and that they were "idiots who betray their own religion".
In September, 2012, Charlie Hebdo published a series of cartoons satirizing the prophet Muhammed. Some of the cartoons were nude caricatures. The cartoons were published just days after a number of demonstrations at various American diplomatic missions allegedly protesting the movie Innocence of Muslims, a film considered blasphemous by Muslims.
In March, 2013, the Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen put out a "hit list" which included Charlie's editor, Stephane Charbonnier.
On Wednesday, January 7, they struck.
They forced an employee to open the door by threatening the life of her toddler daughter. Once inside, they headed for the room where the staff was in an editorial meeting. When the carnage was over, twelve people were dead, including Charb, and eleven others were wounded. One of the men murdered was a Muslim police officer that had been shot and wounded before being executed with a shot at close range.
For the next two days, the shooters were on the run.
This morning, I learned that the two shooters--by now identified as Said and Cherif Kouachi--had been cornered near the Charles deGaulle airport. They had a hostage, and they had vowed that they wanted to die as martyrs.
After Matthew went to school, I took a nap . . . and when I woke up, I discovered that there were two hostage situations going on at the same time in Paris. One was at the deGaulle airport. The other was at a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, in east Paris. Two gunmen--one later identified as Amedy Coulibaly, the other suspected to be Hayat Boumeddiene--had stormed the market and were holding a number of hostages. One of their demands? The Kouachi brothers must be freed.
The news drew parallels between the situation in Paris and the search for the Boston Marathon suspects in 2012. People were told to stay home, stay indoors; and the gendarmes of the Paris police mobilized.
Two separate teams stormed both sites simultaneously.
The Kouachi brothers were killed, and they are now discovering that the 72 virgins promised to martyrs do not exist.
Amedy Coulibaly was killed, and when the police stormed the building, they discovered at least four hostages dead.
Hayat Boumeddine is on the run as I write this.
There is speculation that this is just the beginning, that al-Qaeda in Yemen is gearing up for a major operation in Europe and possibly in the US.
Our President, while expressing condolences to the people of France, still shows a strong reluctance to admit what we know to be true: This is the work of Islamic terrorists.
Not "workplace violence". Not just "criminals".
Open your mouth, Mr. President, and repeat after me: Islamic terrorists.
These are people who are spreading terror in the name of their religion. It does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists. It does mean that there are terrorists using their religion to spread terror.
If these were people using the name of Christ to spread terror, or the name of Judaism to spread terror, would our President be hesitant to call them "Christian terrorists" or "Jewish terrorists"?
I am hoping that this is not the beginning of a new wave of terror.
In the meantime, the best we can do is prions pour la France.
And to stand with those who have been attacked.
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.